THE SECOND phase of a project, which is on track to create Europe’s largest open air Art Gallery, has been completed, with a fourth artist leaving a mural on an abandoned cruise liner, docked in North Wales. The final piece pays homage to the ship’s own history and Captain.

Over the last 8 days four different artists have visited the Duke of Lancaster cruise liner, to leave their own unique murals. The latest piece, created by photo-realistic graffiti artist Space Hop pays homage to the ship’s first Captain, John ‘Jack’ Irwin, the original Captain Jack. He took delivery of the vessel from Harland and Wolff before taking her on her first sea trails.

The picture is an exact reproduction of a one taken on board the ship, just outside his cabin and it was provided by his nephew, Andrew Veal. The striking image, standing at roughly 5 meters high shows the dashing Captain in his full dress uniform. It has been purposely placed just below the bridge in a fitting tribute to a man who was frequently seen there guiding the ship into port.

The transformation of the Duke of Lancaster began back in August 2012, with a series of artist visiting the ship from across Europe. Each created their own individual mural between August and November. With the ship becoming much talked about, the group coordinating the transformation, DuDug, were keen to orchestrate a second phase and bring through another batch of artists.

Spacehop was introduced to the project by one of the artist involved in the first phase of the project, Mr Bungle. He comments: “I first became aware of this project through a friend of mine; Mr Bungle. If I’m honest, originally what attracted me to this was the chance to have a go in a cherry picker and paint big! But after reading all about the ship, I was moved by the injustice of a vessel with so much historical importance just being left to rust and decay. I wanted to get involved because I want to help raise awareness of this issue and bring life back to the ol’ duke.”

DuDug Project Director, Maurice, comments: “We were delighted to have Spacehop on board for the second phase. He is the perfect artist to complete the second phase with his distinctive style, that would help us bring the ship’s Captain back home. All his works are created in freehand and although he started out working on walls, he now specialises in canvas prints. It was great to bring him back once again to a more urban setting.”

The second phase of artists began work on the Duke of Lancaster on the 22nd March. Maurice continues: “We originally planned the second phase to coordinate with the better weather and lighter nights. However, the extreme freak weather we’ve experienced these last two weeks could not keep our artists away. The Duke is now home to 12 pieces of striking and somewhat controversial pieces of original art. All have been originally created for the project.

“The Duke has attracted some of the biggest and most upcoming names from the UK street art scene. All have come together with one purpose – to transform the derelict ship into a stunning new tourist attraction.”

The owners of the ship have faced many well publicised battles with the council, over their plans for the ship. They have in the past tried to open it up as the Funship, but plans have always been met with objection. The owners and DuDug are keen to progress plans to open up the ship’s dock to the public, so these original pieces of art can be enjoyed by the public.

Maurice concludes: “We just hope that this time the Council will be more supportive and see the benefit of creating such a unique tourist attraction that can genuinely help to bring people into the area.”